The six finalists in the ELLE Rising Star Award 2015 in association with MRP have been selected, and are now hard at work completing their collections.
As part of the programme, they are receiving business skills training through a nine-week online course run by Get Smarter and the University of Cape Town, all while, supported by MRP. They are bringing their full ranges to life, which will be shown at an event hosted by African Fashion International on 25 November at Johannesburg’s hottest new venue, The Park – Hyde Park, where the winner will be announced. African Fashion International will be showcasing their four AFI Fastrack finalists’ collections and announce their Young Designer of the Year 2015.
This year’s ELLE Rising Star winner will receive R30 000 in cash from MRP to help launch his or her fashion career; intensive two-week internships with both MRP and ELLE; the opportunity to redesign a range to be sold in select MRP stores; the opportunity to show a range at the 2016 ELLE Rising Star Design Awards; and an annual subscription to ELLE.
The final six were selected by combining the assessments of the judging panel with online readers’ votes. The talented finalists are: Cara Geach (24) and Bianca Messina (24) of Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Daisie Jo Grobler (20) and Blünke Janse van Rensburg (21) of Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design, Stellenbosch; Hamza Guelmouss (20) of Morocco’s Casa Moda Academy; and Siyabonga Ntini (22) of Durban University of Technology.
“There is a real challenge in translating sketches of silhouettes cleverly placed on a moodboard into actual garments,” says Joanne Frédéric, Trend Director at MRP and ERS judge. “What designers conceptualise in their heads or draw on paper might be very different from what can be executed in reality.”
“This year’s successful finalists managed to translate their sketches into strong collections,” says Emilie Gambade, ELLE Editor, “bringing their vision to life without compromising on their storytelling while constructing the garments.”
Competitive innovation from a new generation of designers is exactly what development initiatives and collaborations like AFI Fastrack™ and ELLE Rising Star Award aim to achieve, says Sizwe Nzimande, Group Marketing Executive for AFI.
“We see this as ushering in a new era of inspired talent, keeping the industry fresh with contributions from passionate young fashion designers. At AFI, we are passionate about curating, mentoring, developing and accelerating young fashion design talent through our national fashion incubation programme, AFI Fastrack™. This programme is now in its fifth year and receives hundreds of applications. We are committed to afford alumni the necessary platform and business support. AFI Fastrack™ has seen former ELLE Rising Star finalists, such as AKEDO’S Eleni Labrou, KL Tsotetsi’s Khothatso Tsotetsi and Jenevieve Lyons, go on to establish successful labels.”
This year is also a milestone for the ELLE and MRP partnership with ERS, as African finalist Hamza Guelmouss (20) from Morocco joins the five South African finalists on the ramp on 25 November 2015.
“Most of the entries were extremely exciting – what a pool of creativity and fresh points of view!” says Joanne Frédéric, Trend Director at MRP and a member of the judging panel. “The finalists we chose shone because of their flair, audacity, skills, love and care.”
“This year’s finalists are strong new African fashion talents with the vision to make their mark on the continent and across the world,” says Emilie Gambade, ELLE Editor. “We are looking forward to seeing their full ranges and to making the big decision as to who will be this year’s ELLE Rising Star.”
The judges, consisting of Joanne Frédéric (Trend Director, MRP), Anita Stanbury (CEO, South African Fashion Council), Caileigh Davis (African Fashion International (AFI) Fastrack & NextGen Programme Manager), Dimeji Alara (Editor of Nigeria’s Genevieve magazine and ELLE Contributing Writer), Tarryn Oppel (ELLE Fashion Director), Amber Jones (Trend Executive, MRP), Emilie Gambade (ELLE Editor) and Laduma Ngxokolo (Fashion Designer and Founder of MaXhosa), face a tough decision in choosing the next ELLE Rising Star winner.